Timothy’s Tears: A Holy Week Pre-Game [CASUAL FRI]


paul-and-timothy

This is part of our Lent series, “The Weeping Word“, where we look at different moments of crying, lament, and tears in the Scriptures.

To Timothy, my beloved child…

I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. (2Tim1.2-4)

Next week is Holy Week, the high (or low?) point of Lent, leading to the crescendo of Easter. It will be a time of darkness, reflection, lament, and meditation. But we’re not there yet. Before the seriousness of Holy Week arrives, I thought I’d share with you a funny memory that’s connected to our Lent series on tears in the Bible.

I was sitting in the little campus ministry Bible Study my junior year of college. Our style of Bible Study was simply sitting down with an eloquent, wise, and gifted pastor, and then walking verse-by-verse through a given book of the Christian Scriptures.

Having just finished nearly a year in the book of Romans, we were just starting our next book: 2 Timothy. Many scholars believe it was Paul’s last letter he wrote before he died. And he wrote it to the man he mentored more than any other we know about: Timothy, a young elder at the church in Ephesus who was still struggling to get this little church plant off the ground.
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The Tears of John: the Turning-Point of History


job-silohetteToday we continue our Lent series, “The Weeping Word“, looking at different moments of crying, lament, and tears in the Scriptures.

The Bible has 66 books. After 39 of those Old Testament books, God’s people are left with these words:

Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.

And the Hebrew Scriptures end. God’s people sit wondering what the heck is happening to God’s promises, all while God just gives them another promise: “I will send Elijah, and I will not curse the land”. That’s it.
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Hagar: Tears, Empowerment, & the Faithfulness of God


Corot_Hagar_in_the_WildernessToday we continue our Lent series, “The Weeping Word“, looking at different moments of crying, lament, and tears in the Scriptures.

In the early chapters of the Bible, there is perhaps no greater symbol of injustice than Hagar, the Egyptian servant of Abraham and Sarah. She is under forced labor, and is made by her master’s wife to bear a child by an old man. She is, in essence, a sex slave. After Hagar has her son, Sarah deals very harshly with her, causing Hagar to run away. God chases her down:

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”

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The Liturgy of Cain & the Tears of the Earth


de Goya-fight with cudgels"Our Lent series this year is “The Weeping Word“, where we’re meditating on key places in the Scriptures where Lament, crying, tears, and weeping happen. Today, we look at the first instance of this in the Bible.

There is a particular rhythm that God’s people have always used in their liturgy. If you pay attention, you’ll see this rhythm pop up in lots of different places throughout the Christian Scriptures. My favorite unexpected place where this shows up is in the story of Cain and Abel.

Worship

The story opens with these two brothers coming to worship, answering an implied Call to Worship that issues from God. This is where the liturgical rhythm begins. God calls us to worship him, and we respond by offering him this worship to him.

But everyone comes to worship from different places, and not everyone’s heart and offering is pure.

And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Our worship gets twisted and directed towards the wrong things, and this is what we call sin. Offering worship wrongly and to the wrong things. Wrong worship produces wickedness within us.

“Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out to the field.” And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.

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